When deciding where to go to college, one of the factors to consider early on is the size of the college you want to attend. The size of the school affects the learning style of the classes you take, how much individual attention you will get from your professors and how closely your advisors will be able to follow your progress.
Because evaluating a college based on size is important, I picked out a few reasons why I chose to pursue my degree at a smaller college — and why I’m so glad I did.
The small class sizes are invaluable.
Having fewer classmates made a world of difference for me. When I was touring large universities, I felt lost in the crowd when I sat in on a lecture. The professor was so far away, and most of the students seemed to be on their phones the entire time. At smaller schools, the professor is able to walk around the room when they give a lecture, making it necessary for the students to focus on the material being presented to them.
My professors know their students’ names by the end of the first week, and their doors are always open to me.
It’s possible to get real facetime with your professors.
If you need help with your paper for a tough English class or want to know how to study for that history exam coming up, it’s fairly easy to meet up with your professor. You have the opportunity for one-on-one advising that would most likely be unavailable (or at least very difficult to plan) to you at a larger school. And, if their office hours don’t work for you, most professors are more than willing to arrange a different time to meet that would work for you both.
In short, I’ve found that since the professors are closer to your learning experience, they are more personally invested in your success.
It’s easier to get involved in multiple campus activities.
While I have never attempted to join or start a student organization at a large school, I have experienced how easy it is to juggle multiple activities on a smaller campus — often because these school organizations typically operate within the vicinity of your school. The individual groups don’t have to take all of your time, which gives you room to enjoy multiple extracurriculars.
As an example, I’m currently working with my nursing cohort to create a brand-new student nurse association at our school, an opportunity that would not necessarily have been open to me had I been learning in a much larger nursing program.
Professors who know you are more likely to give you a good reference.
When it comes time for reference letters (and you will need them), your professor will know who you are and will be able to give an honest, thorough account of your ability to learn, attention to detail and attitude of respect. Employers really consider your references, because your demeanor and work ethic in the classroom can speak volumes about your behavior toward authority of any kind. It is extremely beneficial to you and your future career that a professor is able to submit an in-depth, personalized letter of recommendation rather than a generic one.
As I write this, I am sitting in my college’s cafeteria during the dinner hour. Looking around, I’m realizing that I know each and every single person’s name sitting around me, and I have a rough idea of their personality and what they’re going to school for. These are elementary levels of information, but impressive considering we’ve only been back to school for a few weeks.
I can’t begin to tell you how comforting it is to be able to walk into your classroom, library or cafeteria and recognize everyone around you. This offers you a sense of belonging much more difficult to achieve in a larger school atmosphere.
I am so happy I chose to pursue my education at a school like Silver Lake College and I hope my positive experiences help you in your decision.
Did you find Anna's story insightful? Subscribe to our blog to read more stories like hers.